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Trump speaks to people whove grown weary of political correctness – The Boston Globe

Yvonne Abraham (Lessons in democracy, sorely tested, Page A1, Nov. 1) rightly asks what can be learned from the Trump presidency, but her answers do not address probably the most important question: Why do so many Americans vote for Donald Trump?

A friend who was a judge was instructed to declare daily to others in court that his pronouns are he, him, his. Gone with the Wind has become proscribed, along with the book Doctor Dolittle and many other now-censored classics. Such silliness pushes many who disagree with Trump on important issues such as climate change to vote for him out of resentment of the excesses of political correctness, which has been foisted on Americans over the past few decades.

Addressing this resentment offers the only hope for reaching a middle ground in our deeply divided nation. Sadly, I see no evidence that any recognition of this barrier to reconciliation, much less an effort to address it, has developed over the past four years.

If there is anything that Americans across the political spectrum must learn from recent experience, it is to heed the words of cartoonist Walt Kellys Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us.

Peter Foukal

Nahant

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Trump speaks to people whove grown weary of political correctness - The Boston Globe

Enough already, or cancel culture will come for the Hebrew Bible J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Political correctness threatens the Hebrew Bible. The seeds of its cancellation may have been planted by San Franciscos Board of Education.

A committee proposed to the board the renaming of 44 schools, including Washington High (slave owner) and Lincoln High (mistreated native peoples). Forget Washingtons helping win American independence and Lincoln holding the nation together.

Another proscription involves James Lick Middle School, named for a local philanthropist. An objectionable statue was erected in Licks honor. However, the model was accepted by his estates trustees 14 years after Licks death.

Theres Mission High near Mission Dolores in, yes, the Mission District. Many historians believe that Californias missions mistreated native peoples. Should we also change the neighborhoods name? As for Presidio Middle School, the Presidio, a national park since 1994, once was Spains northernmost military outpost. Shall we bury Spanish history? If so, should my city and the bay continue to be named for a Catholic saint?

As to the Hebrew Bible, we recently read the weekly Torah portion Bereshit (Genesis 1:16:8). This may offend some people. Its protagonists tend to be flawed.

In Egypt, Abram (later Abraham), the first patriarch, passes off his wife Sarai (later Sarah) as his sister. Shes taken to Pharaohs court. Fortunately, God protects her virtue. After the 90-year-old Sarah bears Isaac, Abraham yields to her and, with Gods consent, sends away his concubine Hagar and their son Ishmael. When Isaac grows up, Abraham displays his willingness to sacrifice him. An angel intervenes.

Theres more.

Jacob, Isaacs son, takes his elder twin Esaus birthright and later tricks him out of their fathers blessing. Josephs brothers, later heads of Israels tribes, cast their bratty little sibling into a pit from which hes sold into Egyptian slavery. Years later, Joseph saves the family.

Moses kills an Egyptian well before the Exodus and receiving the Ten Commandments. David sends Uriah the Hittite to die in battle in order to take Uriahs wife, Bathsheba. The prophet Nathan rebukes David, and God prohibits David from building the First Temple in Jerusalem. His son, the wise Solomon, does, despite accumulating 700 wives and 300 concubines. Samson slays a lion with the jawbone of an ass. Gripped by the spirit of the Lord along with jealousy and rage he also kills 30 Philistines at Ashkelon.

Why do Jews, as well as Christians and Muslims, venerate these biblical figures? The Bible presents truth with a capital T. Mythic Truth demands a nuanced view of life.

Jewish commentators long have taken our greatest ancestors to task for their faults. Students continue to discuss and debate these characters lives. But demanding perfection is fruitless. None of us can model that. So we emphasize the ancestors critically important deeds.

For this reason, I would never endorse yanking Martin Luther Kings name from schools and streets. MLK engaged in extramarital affairs, attested to by sources including the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and the historian David Garrow. Infidelity is not to Kings credit, but the good he did more than compensated for his failings.

As the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides wrote, There are some merits that outweigh many sins (Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 3:2). One neednt be without blemish to attain a place in the World to Come.

If God judges with context and perspective, and so accepts imperfection, perhaps we can, too and keep the Hebrew Bible from being cancelled.

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Enough already, or cancel culture will come for the Hebrew Bible J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

Why labeling disabled students as just ‘differently abled’ does a disservice to them – Inside Higher Ed

A department chair recently announced at a meeting that students challenged by cognitive, psychological or emotional issues are to no longer be referred to as "disabled." We must henceforth call them differently abled. The change is well-meaning but harms many students it was aimed at helping. I know this because I am not only the adviser to Phoenix Rising, our colleges support group for students with learning challenges, but I am myself learning disabled.

The element of political correctness is correct, but we must be equally thoughtful in our attempts to linguistically intervene. The central insight of political correctness partly comes from two figures in Continental philosophy, my area of specialization. The first is Friedrich Nietzsche, who in The Genealogy of Morals pointed out that those who have the most political capital also have the power to define the central terms in our language. How we speak invisibly contains the biases of those in control.

The other is Simone de Beauvoir, who in The Second Sex points out that in setting out a description of who she is would start by saying that she is a woman, a move a man would not have to make. To be Other is defined in the negative, as a deviation from normal. And since norms are enforced, to be Other is to be less than. The hope of political correctness was that by coming up with new terms that do not derive from traditional power structures, they could be cleansed of the power to diminish those in the outgroups.

Thus, we should prefer new terms referring to the socially Othered in order to help undermine the oppressive structures that have been built to keep them down. Those of us with cognitive challenges, the line goes, are thus like women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ communities in being oppressed and thus we need a new uncorrupted celebratory label. We are to be differently abled.

Well intended, yes; but no. I am learning disabled. I am not differently abled. I have heard the story of a colleague at another institution who after suffering a stroke lost his sense of spatial awareness and relied on his GPS to get him from his home to his office -- a trip he has taken five times a week for 30 years. But after the stroke, he suddenly found that he has computational capacities he had never before possessed. He could do quantitative work he had been incapable of before. This person became differently abled.

That is not true of me. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, minor dyslexia, dysgraphia and several other learning challenges. These are not some double-edged sword that conveys both advantages and disadvantages to me academically. They just make my life harder.

I was fortunate to come from a family of sufficient means with a savvy and caring mother who had me, at a young age, tested and diagnosed and formulated a plan of action to allow me to succeed. If I had come from a poor family, I would have been labeled stupid and out of control. But with the proper tutoring, medication and schooling, I was able to go to college, earn a Ph.D. and become the tenured chair of Jewish studies at an elite liberal arts institution.

I am proud of what I am, and prouder still because it was much harder than it would have been if I did not have these particular learning challenges. I have a dear colleague who listens to me for hours and who helps me write. My insights are those of a professional academic, but my neurological wiring often makes it difficult for me to organize them in a way that renders them professionally publishable. My colleague helps me organize the ideas (he helped me with this piece, too) and that is one of many coping strategies and mechanisms I use to allow me to contribute to the professional discourse community to which we belong.

He does not have these handicaps -- another word that we should not sacrifice to political correctness. I have difficulties, challenges that he does not. Yet, each year, when our provost determines merit raises, we are measured by the same yardstick despite the fact that it is much more challenging for me to do what he does.

We do the same job. We teach. We publish. We serve the institution and professional community. That is our job as professors, and it is on our degree of success that we are assessed. But my successes are much more hard-fought than those who are normally abled (or in academe, often extraordinarily abled).

The same may be true of many of our learning disabled students. To call them differently abled may falsely attribute to them helpful qualities that would give them an advantage they do not really enjoy and diminishes the real struggles they endure and work around or overcome to succeed and present themselves as able. These people work harder in the nuts and bolts of doing college. They suffer emotionally from it and yet keep plugging away, trying to keep up with their peers in the seats around them. They deserve credit for this. Indeed, they deserve to be celebrated for it.

Linguistically turning a blind eye with differently abled -- pretending these challenges arent real, but only different -- does not help these students and perhaps does a shameful disservice to them. Learning to read with dyslexia or doing math with dyscalculia is exceptionally hard, but it has to happen if one hopes to navigate the world. Calling one differently abled doesnt achieve this. A child unable to read or do math is still going to be measured by reading and math tests. Their challenges are always here, sometimes much more acutely than at other times, but always with them in the way one with Tourette's syndrome always has it.

They are not differently abled, they are learning disabled, and I applaud them for all they do despite their challenges.

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Why labeling disabled students as just 'differently abled' does a disservice to them - Inside Higher Ed

What the pollsters got so wrong with 2020 election – New York Post

I find it remarkable that polling has been as accurate as it has been but it got worse this week.

The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls showed Joe Biden with more than 51 percent of the popular vote and Donald Trump with 44 percent.

As this is written, Biden has 50 percent of the tabulated national popular vote, but Donald Trump has 48 percent. So, the 2 percentage-point Biden plurality is far lower than the polls 7.2-point Biden plurality.

The results in target states seem to have been off as well. The polls had Biden up 0.9 percent in Florida, far different from Trumps 3.4 percent victory margin there.

In an opinion climate where mass media and corporate political correctness has many Americans unwilling to state their opinions, there may be something to say for unorthodox methods and something to say against the more standard polling technique. There is, as my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York has argued, a hidden Trump vote. Most pollsters have not learned how to find it.

Donald Trump ran much better than almost everyone in the press and on Twitter expected.

Democrats dont seem likely to pick up the Senate majority that they seemed almost assured of gaining as recently as Tuesday morning. In Iowa, Republican incumbent Joni Ernst, having trailed in polls for months, won by a 7 percent margin.

Democrats hopes for a Senate majority now rest on Georgias two Senate seats. It was uncertain whether incumbent David Perdue would fail to get 50 percent of the vote and therefore, under state law, have to face a runoff with Democrat Jon Ossoff on Jan. 5. There will definitely be a runoff for the states other seat between appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Whatever the exact result, it seems unlikely that the Senate will go along with the plans backed enthusiastically by leftist Democrats to pack the Supreme Court or to confer statehood on the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Democrats have not done nearly as well as expected in House races. The Cook Political Report predicted that Democrats would increase their 232-seat majority in the House. Instead, theyve lost multiple seats and have gained only two, both in North Carolina, thanks to a favorable court redistricting decision.

This was also a bad election for the theory that increasing percentages of nonwhites would assure Democrats of a permanent natural majority. But there never was any assurance that the Americans classified (beginning with the 1970 census) as Hispanics would overwhelmingly identify as Democrats, just as black Americans have for the last half-century; the contemporary and historic experiences of these groups are far different.

But Hispanic voters didnt perform as expected, and neither did black voters. National exit polls showed Trump winning the votes of 32 percent of Latinos and 36 percent of Latino men; it also showed Trump winning 12 percent of black voters and 18 percent of black men.

The gender gap is apparently widening among Latino voters and black voters.

One more result worthy of notice: Californias overwhelmingly Democratic legislature put on the ballot a proposition repealing Proposition 209, passed in 1996, which banned racial discrimination by state and local governments, including in college and university admissions. Some legislators with many Asian constituents complained, but the assumption was that it would pass easily. Not so.

Current returns show this Proposition 16 rejected by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin. It is barely carrying Los Angeles County with 52 percent and the San Francisco Bay area with 53 percent, but is rejected by 64 percent in the rest of the state, where most California voters live.

Evidently something sticks in the craws of most Californians, like most Americans, when they are asked to authorize discriminating against their fellow citizens because of their race.

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What the pollsters got so wrong with 2020 election - New York Post

Whatever the US result, the winner is | Daily Sabah – Daily Sabah

The U.S. presidential elections are turning to a deadlock as both candidates, incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, have expressed confidence in a victory. And amid the tension, Trump has demanded a recount of the votes in Wisconsin.

It is one of the most disputed elections in U.S. history. The race between the Democrats former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Trump was very tight, but this time it seems possible if Biden wins that Trump will appeal the victory at the Supreme Court.

How were the results so close? How did the polls showing Joe Biden with a substantial lead over Donald Trump get it so wrong? Although we don't know the final result yet, can we tell who the winner is?

Let me begin by addressing the last question. Despite who is announced president, I can confidently say Trump won the election.

Trump overcame the media, politics, academia and even Twitter.

His own party did not support him, and his presidency was disputed over the entire course of the four years.

Under these circumstances, it is a huge success to manage to get almost half of the votes.

I believe the attitude of the mainstream media, Democrats and academia strengthened Trump and Trumpism in the U.S.

Democratic circles and the U.S. media used the wrong approach when defending liberal democratic values including pluralism, gender equality and freedom of choice defending pluralism with an authoritarian tone.

This attitude created animosity among the average right-wing, white American voter.

Trump has become the symbol of the antithesis of political correctness, which I believe played a role in his success.

Masses who were critical of abortion or gay rights identified with Trump given that those defending the freedom of choice labeled them as uncivil or anti-democratic.

Ironically, this attitude provided the opposite result with the Democratic pseudo-liberal pressure harming the struggle for rights for women, immigrants and other disadvantaged groups.

Whatever result the ballot box brings, whether Biden wins or loses, I would argue that he was another contributing factor and the wrong candidate.

It is difficult for a politician like Biden, associated with the status quo, to integrate defending pluralism to his platform, and he does not represent the direct opposite of what Trump does.

All in all, Trumpism has won, and there is a big possibility that if Biden becomes president, Trump will run again in 2024.

If the opposite is it to happen, there will definitely be another member of the Trump family willing to run in the next election, most likely Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter.

The world waits to see what comes next.

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Whatever the US result, the winner is | Daily Sabah - Daily Sabah

Editorial: Conservatism and universities – Tulsa Beacon

What would it be like if a conservative were president of a state college or university in Oklahoma?

Burns Hargis is retiring as president of Oklahoma State University at the end of the spring semester. Hargis, a Republican, had some significant accomplishments at OSU, particularly with fundraising and new buildings.

Hargis is kind of conservative but its doubtful his political leanings had meaningful impact on the type of education at OSU.

Across the nation, progressive Democrats have taken control of higher education, especially at state run universities. They have given free reign to ultra-liberal professors who are determined to challenge the traditional thinking and morality of impressionable college students.

A conservative student at most colleges would have an uphill battle to defend his or her political views. And Christianity and Christians have been under assault on campuses, too. The liberal idealogy is so intolerant that it interferes with free speech and the free interchange of ideas. And this is damaging Americas culture. Political correctness is demanded on campus.

Things may not be that bad at OSU but the choice of a new president could go in that direction. And yet OSU football coach Mike Gundy was taken to task just for wearing a shirt with a logo of a conservative news source.

Revolutionaries target children and college students. That is where they believe they can force change on a culture.

Imagine if a conservative, Christian were chosen to lead Oklahoma State University. That could provide a model for colleges around the country to reinforce freedom of religion, freedom of speech, respect for the U.S. Constitution and a return to traditional morality.

Well see what happens.

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Editorial: Conservatism and universities - Tulsa Beacon

MSNBC’s Joy Reid: Close presidential race shows ‘great amount of racism and anti blackness’ in US | TheHill – The Hill

MSNBC's Joy Reidsaid late Wednesday that "there's a great amount of racism and anti-blackness" in the U.S., with the prime-time host adding itis "aggravating" and "disappointing" the results of the presidential election are so close and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden claims a 'mandate' to govern, calls for end to 'partisan warfare' Mark Meadows tests positive for coronavirus Georgia Senate race between Perdue, Ossoff heads to runoff MORE faces no "repudiation."

"I think partly because we knew the red wave was a thing, the red mirage, I should say, we all knew it was coming," Reid said to host Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMSNBC's Joy Reid: Close presidential race shows 'great amount of racism and anti blackness' in US Rachel Maddow: No blue wave for Democrats Cable news October ratings explode as Fox News hits historic highs MORE. "In the moment, its aggravating. And I think partly and I said this last night I do think its because weve been reporting for five years, Rachel, about Russia ... undermining our national security, the impeachment, the racism, the Nazis, all of it and then COVID laying on top of it, [it] felt like a repudiation was coming.

I think even though we intellectually understand what America is at its base, right?" she said. "That there is a great amount of racism, anti-blackness, anti-wokeness, this idea that political correctness is some scheme to destroy white America, right?"

"We know what this country is, but still part of you, I think part of your heart says, you know what, maybe the countrys going to pay off all of this pain, the children that were stolen, with a repudiation. And as the night wore on and I realized and it sunk in, OK, thats not happening, we are still who we thought, unfortunately," Reid added.

Its disappointing. And I emerged from this disappointed," she continued.

The comments from Reid, who sparked considerable backlash after calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasSupreme Court orders separate count of late-arriving Pa. ballots Election's outcome could depend on faithless electors MSNBC's Joy Reid: Close presidential race shows 'great amount of racism and anti blackness' in US MORE "Uncle Clarence" early Wednesday in what appeared to be an "Uncle Tom" reference, came as votes were still being counted in Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden claims a 'mandate' to govern, calls for end to 'partisan warfare' Mark Meadows tests positive for coronavirus Trump supporters scream at Telemundo reporter during live broadcast from Maricopa ballot center MORE was within six electoral votes of capturing the presidency.

Biden currently leads Trump in electoral votes, 264-214, with the former vice president only needing to take Nevada to become the nation's 46th president.

Many polls showed the former vice president well ahead of the president going into Election Day, fueling some predictions of a decisive Biden victory, as well as Democrats taking control of the Senate and expanding their majority in the House.

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MSNBC's Joy Reid: Close presidential race shows 'great amount of racism and anti blackness' in US | TheHill - The Hill

DALLAS JONES: What will bring peace in times of anxiety from serious problems – Manistee News Advocate

Dallas Jones, Guest Columnist

DALLAS JONES:What will bring peace in times of anxiety from serious problems

Dallin H. Oaks speaking to a college student body said, "Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can unite and bring peace to people of all races and nationalities," he said. "We who believe in that gospel, whatever our origins, must unite in love of each other and of our Savior Jesus Christ."

RACISM

Dallin Oaks repeated several recent teachings of Russell M. Nelson on racism:

God does not love one race more than another.

Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments, and not the color of your skin.

We should build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.

We should abandon attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group of God's children.

ERASE HISTORY

Mr. Oaks noted that the efforts of some today to erase from history people associated with slavery may accomplish nothing but a bow to the cause of political correctness. Instead, he encouraged inspiration, education and clear thinking. He related a recent and serendipitous encounter with some of the words of Winston Churchill from 1940. Churchill was once a minority voice in Britain who warned of the evils of the Nazi government in Germany. Later, after many of his predictions came to pass, he became prime minister. Some of his colleagues in government wanted to punish those who had ignored his warnings and thus contributed to Britain's lack of preparedness during World War II. Churchill, however, saw folly in such an approach. "There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Government and of Parliaments during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future."

HONOR PAST GENERATIONS THAT HAVE HELPED TO FORM AND PRESERVE OUR FREEDOM

"The predecessors of many Americans of different backgrounds made great sacrifices to establish this nation," Oaks said.

Whatever those sacrifices, of freedom, property or even life, let us now honor them for what they have done for us and forgo quarrelling over the past. Ours is the duty to unite and improve the future we will share.

GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

Regardless of the cause of anxiety, first line of defense is always our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust in His promises of peace and in the cleansing that His atonement makes possible. Instead of being swept along in the anxiety and fear and rely on the assurances of a loving Heavenly Father. Rely on the counsel of His loving Son, a Savior who has assured us that 'if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear' (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). The Lord promised that in the midst of prophesied destructions and tragedies, He will protect the righteous.

INCREASING OUR FAITH

In a period of anxiety from personal and world problems what strengthens my faith is to realize that the "Great Creator" is my loving Heavenly Father and I am His son. If I trust in Him and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and seek His help and direction He will help me through the worldly destructive land mines of sin and realizing that the future of the earth and our plan of salvation is under His control.

THE SAVIOR'S PEACE

The Savior said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33 in the Bible). The Savior said to His apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14: 27 in the Bible). The peace the Savior refers to is the sense of well-being and serenity that comes from keeping His commandments and having the Spirit of the Holy Ghost with us regardless of the affairs and conditions of the world.

Dallas Jones is the local leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For further discussion call (231) 383-8359 or send an email to dallasjones8349@yahoo.com. Those interested in reading more articles from Dallas Jones visit djonesarticles.com.

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DALLAS JONES: What will bring peace in times of anxiety from serious problems - Manistee News Advocate

Scholars and analysts reflect on lessons learned – Harvard Gazette

It was a presidential election befitting the past four years, unprecedented and contentious. Temperatures ran high on both sides, fueling turnout estimated to be the highest since 1900, when 73.7 percent of the electorate cast ballots. Younger voters, age 1829, made their voices heard in historic numbers, and mail-in voting broke records in states around the nation, owing largely to health concerns over the pandemic. Battle lines were drawn over the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic fallout; national protests over racial inequity; the future of the Affordable Care Act; climate change; and Supreme Court nominees.

Each side accused the other of promoting unfair election tactics. Democrats urged voters to mail in ballots and to vote early, citing concerns over the coronavirus, changes at the Postal Service that could slow delivery, and shifting rules in Republican-controlled states that could make in-person voting or dropping off absentee ballots an hourslong process. Republicans sought to limit the collection and counting of mail-in ballots, voicing concerns about the prospects for widespread voter fraud. Party officials offered no evidence to support their suspicions.

The threat of foreign interference and disinformation campaigns from both inside and outside the nation hung overhead. In late October U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials held a press conference to warn that Russia and Iran had obtained some voter registration information and would seek to incite social unrest through emails and other means, although there is no evidence that foreign powers managed to tap directly into actual voting systems and change outcomes. Researchers suggested that when all the dust settled it could very likely turn out that most of the election disinformation came from domestic extremist groups and trolls via social media.

The election was viewed by all, including leaders here on campus, as consequential. For many people, the U.S. election has brought the trials and tragedies of this year into even sharper focus. All of us who have an opportunity to vote in a well-functioning democracy can use that opportunity to help address the problems we see in the world, President Larry Bacow said in a letter to the Harvard community last Friday.

The Gazette asked scholars and analysts across the University to reflect on lessons learned in a variety of areas.

Professor of Government at the Department of Government

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Enos: From this election weve learned that our system is not working and is in need of major reform.

In this election, we have had voters with a legitimate fear of violence during or in the aftermath of the election; politicians undermining confidence in the electoral process; voters concerned their votes wouldnt be counted; politicians attempting to prevent them from being counted; and talk of whether we will have a peaceful transfer of power.

A democracy cannot long function under these conditions, and that these are not just fringe concerns shows that the institutions designed to prevent these threats to democracy are not functioning as they should.

Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Brown-Nagin: This election crystalized American promise and American peril. Fifty-five years after passage of the Voting Rights Act and 100 years after ratification of the 19th Amendment, the fundamental right to vote the essence of a democracy remains ferociously contested anddeeply cherished.

Turnout was extraordinary! An estimated 67 percent of eligible voters cast ballots almost 160 million people the greatest number in more than 100 years. Voters mailed ballots or cast them in person, notwithstanding the global pandemic. The electorate included large numbers of women and racial minorities, some mobilized by the prospect of electing Kamala Harris, who would be the first South Asian and African American woman vice president.

At the same time, we witnessed a concerted effort to suppress the vote, to intimidate voters, and to delegitimize legally cast votes. And the results revealed an electorate divided in all sorts of ways by region, race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, education level, and generation. An overwhelming majority of African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, and a sizeable majority ofyoung people and gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans highly motivated by concerns about health and racial inequality voted for the Democratic candidate. By contrast, sizeable majorities of white, evangelical Christian, rural, and non-college-educated voters mobilized around security and the economy and chose the Republic candidate.

All this occurred a mere 12 years after we witnessed the apotheosis of the Voting Rights Acts vision of multiracial democracy: the election of President Barack Obama, a biracial man, by a cross-racial coalition of voters, including whites without college degrees, who lived in all parts of the country. That historic moment generated a backlash and a threat to democracy itself; now some Americans, including some bearing arms, are demanding that officials stop counting votes. The 2020 election starkly revealed an enduring struggle for a more perfect union amid threats to popular sovereignty and demands to live up to our nations founding commitments.

Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Levinson: What we learned was that the uncertainty of this election is entirely a function of the crazy way that Americans elect their president, which is through the Electoral College. This means, for example, that [President] Trump gets nine electoral votes for carrying the two Dakotas plus Wyoming, which collectively have only about 200,000 more residents than New Mexico, which contributed only five votes.

What remains an interesting question, if one is an academic, is why Americans persist with such a truly dysfunctional system of presidential election.One answer is provided by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Alex Keyssar in a book aptly titled,Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?The answer, basically, is that the U.S. Constitution is next to impossible to amend, not least because the framers, with their distrust of popular government, provide no mechanism for doing end runs around a sclerotic Congress by organizing popular initiatives and referenda, as are allowed in roughly half the American states and in a number of foreign countries such as New Zealand and Switzerland.

One thing that is also worth noting is that the major split in America is less that between red states and blue states than between cities and less-urban areas.Texas, where I live, is a very blue state consisting of four of the 11 largest cities in the U.S. and an equally red state in the rest of the state.This is also obviously true in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and most of the larger states.Were we simply divided between red and blue states, then I think it might be wise to consider the possibility that secession would emerge as a genuine possibility.(Several books, by both left- and right-wing authors, have seriously addressed the possibility.) But it is really not conceivable that states will dissolve into their urban and rural territories.All one can say with confidence is that the polarization that is one of the defining features of contemporary American politics continues absolutely unabated.

Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Hochschild: We learned that Donald Trumps victory in 2016 tapped into a real, important, scary (to me) sense of anger and displacement, as well as nationalism, religiosity, racism, and economic need that Democrats have been largely clueless about. The urban/rural (or coastal/center, or cosmopolitan/localist) divide is big and wont go away easily. Trump reinforced the gap; Biden wanted to close it. Democrats have a lot of hard work and self-examination to do, and Republicans want to lock down a minority-run government. Its not pretty, all around. I dont know, of course, but I would guess that by now, Trumps lies and posturing dont make a lot of difference, in the sense that he has done about as much damage as he can do to norms of democratic discourse and truth-telling (which is a lot of damage).

Trump will surely encourage and provide more misinformation, and I think the push to litigate, to declare the outcome of the election to be stolen and illegitimate is indeed pretty dangerous. But I dont think we can explain or explain away Trumps strong support as merely misinformation 80 million people arent that stupid. There are two distinct and contradictory information networks [in operation], however, which is a slightly different point. The media that Trump opponents read focuses on COVID, immigration, racism, lying, corruption. The media that Trump supporters read focuses on abortion, jobs, economic growth, protecting the borders, political correctness, dangerous cities, and religious faith. Both sets of information may be equally true, but they barely overlap. I think that is a more serious, broader, problem than misinformation per se.

Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Williams: That the American people still believe in democracy. Photos and videos showing long lines of voters were maddening, to be sure voter suppression is an ongoing threat to our elections but it was also heartening to see so many millions of Americans determined to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot. The record-breaking turnout numbers this year reaffirm a dearly held fact that voting is a right Americans are no longer taking for granted.

I know that a lot of us are struggling with the fact that so many millions of our fellow citizens voted for such an amoral, unethical candidate. But this election has also reminded us that democracy is dynamic rather than static, and dependent on the ongoing, everyday actions of everyday Americans. As John Lewis reminded us, Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself. In other words, this election is a starting point, not an end one.

Allie S. Freed Professor of Government

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Carpenter: I think weve learned that there is strong and widespread popular opposition to President Trump. The Democrats kept the House, may have expanded their membership in the Senate, and possibly have defeated an incumbent president. The advantages that incumbent presidents have are real. President Trump is the first incumbent president to lose the popular vote in his re-election campaign in almost three decades, since George H. W. Bush in 1992. Of course Trump did not win the popular vote in 2016 either, but then neither did George W. Bush in 2000, and Bush went on to win the popular vote in 2004.

But I also think weve seen the Republican Party coalesce even further around the politics of white resentment and, relatedly, opposition to a set of people called elites, which includes everything from lower-paid civil servants and public health workers to government scientists and more-educated populations. This troubling force is going to be with us for a long time. The countervailing force is the diversity and energy of younger Americans, who have the chance to redefine American democracy in the coming generation.

Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and professor of African and African American studies

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Hammonds: This has been one of the most tumultuous elections in U.S. history. Frankly, if Biden/[Kamala]Harris do not win then I believe we will be facing a very dark period in this country for at least two reasons. First, because of the disdain for science and expertise by the Trump administration which has exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying, many of them needlessly, because of the administrations blatant disregard of the best scientific practices. This is unconscionable by any measure. As a result, it will take an enormous effort to end this pandemic.

Secondly, this disdain for science is coupled with explicit racism from this administration. Trump has made it clear that the suffering of Black and brown people means little to him. Whether Trump wins or not, this is a moment when those of us who have been fighting to end health disparities in America that have been revealed by the coronavirus pandemic will have to redouble our efforts to end inequalities in health care and all areas of American society.This election is a serious call to action for those who believe in American democracy.

Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Steiker: What I have learned in this election is that despite, or perhaps because of, the anger and divisiveness that have marked this political season, it is possible to substantially shift the needle on popular political engagement. We are seeing levels of voter turnout in this election not seen in more than a century, since William Howard Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan in 1908.

If polls are accurate and Joe Biden wins the presidency, there will undoubtedly be a shift in federal criminal-justice priorities. I would expect to see some changes in federal prosecution policies on issues like the death penalty and mandatory minimum charges, as well as legislative initiatives on issues like the decriminalization of marijuana and further reduction of the racially tilted crack/powder sentencing disparities, as Biden has highlighted in his campaign. A Biden Justice Department would no doubt seek to use its authority to influence state criminal justice policies as well, both by carrots (federal grants) and sticks (Justice Department investigations and consent decrees to address systemic police misconduct, as the Obama Justice Department did in Ferguson, Mo.).However, history has shown that differences between Democratic and Republican administrations on criminal justice tend to be modest, so I would not expect to see any full-throated endorsement of the radical changes in policing and punishment practices that many protesters have been calling for around the country. Moreover, in the United States, a substantial amount of regulation of the criminal justice system is done through constitutional interpretation by the federal courts an area in which Trumps influence will far outlast his presidency.

Lawrence D. Biele Professor of Law

GAZETTE: What should we take away from the election overall?

Mack: What I have learned from this election so far is both a lot and a little.Historians typically look at elections as vehicles for possible political, economic, or social change. Certainly in the run-up to this years election weve seen some things change significantly.We have the first woman of color on a major party ticket (who now seems poised to become vice president), Black candidates seeming to run competitively statewide in several Southern states, and efforts to suppress minority voting of a kind we havent seen in decades.

We also have a national social movement to counter structural racism that has found support rather than backlash in many suburban areas. We have policies being debated, surrounding a range of issues from policing to measures to combat economic inequality and to support the environment that would have not garnered significant support 10 years ago. At the same time, the coalition that elected and supported Donald Trump as president shows many cracks but remains intact, and the visions of everything from court-packing to a Green New Deal that animated discussions within the Democratic Party are off the table for the immediate future.Also endangered is the prospect of undoing the process of packing the judiciary with Trump nominees.Weve also seen that the erosion and endangerment of democratic norms that has occurred in the past four years continues apace, as exemplified by the presidents false claims of victory on election night and his public entreaties that his opponents votes not be counted as they are required to be under existing law.With continued efforts to contest legitimate legal processes for counting votes and continued efforts to delegitimize election results, the process of norm-erosion may in fact be augmented rather than dissipated by Biden and Harris probable victory.Much was at stake in this years elections, and it matters a great deal who won them for many important policies, such as climate change and public health.The evidence we have so far, however, would counsel caution about the predictions, so prevalent only days ago, that the November elections would produce substantial, longer-term change.

By definition, the struggle for racial justice in the United States is a long one, with very few national elections as true inflection points or moments where something historic has been decided. Certain elections do constitute such points 1876, 1948, 1964, 1968, 1980, and 2008, for instance while most are not. Certainly in the run-up to this election, weve seen an unprecedented number of people participate in antiracist protests, and weve seen a new set of reforms focusing on prisons and policing garner a far wider range of supporters than anyone would have predicted 10 years ago.

We also saw a reopening of battles for racial minority access to the ballot that were thought settled long ago, prompted by the Supreme Courts invalidation of a portion of the Voting Rights Act.We saw candidates in the Democratic presidential primaries embrace issues such as bail and prison reform, curtailing private prisons, felon enfranchisement, ending mandatory minimums, and other measures that emerged from social movement pressure.

At the same time, the specific results of the November elections, as we know them so far, dont seem to coincide with a strong mandate for racial-justice policies beyond the ones that already have bipartisan support, such as significantly reducing the prison population among nonviolent drug offenders. It may be that future generations will see this election as a turning point of sorts, but the initial evidence we have indicates that the specific results of the November elections mark a continuation of existing debates rather than a sharp differentiation from what has come before. Nonetheless, that shouldnt distract from the proposition that 2020 has been a historic year in which racial justice movements have gone mainstream in service of the project of making our democracy work for everyone.

Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies

GAZETTE: How instrumental were right-wing information networks in this election as compared to 2016, and why?

Benkler: The right-wing propaganda feedback loop, anchored in Fox News and talk radio and supported by online media, has played two critical roles in the election. The first, and most foundational, is that throughout the presidency of Donald Trump it offered an alternative reality, in which the president was a strong, effective leader hounded by an alliance of Democrats who hate America and Deep State operatives bent on reversing the victory of Trump, the authentic voice of the people. In this universe, COVID-19 was not an unusual or particularly dangerous condition but an overhyped threat intended by elites to besmirch Trump. Only on the background of this separate epistemic existence can Trumps unwavering support in the teeth of the pandemic and its economic consequences be understood.

The second role that disinformation played and is now continuing to play in the postelection tussle is as the source of legitimacy for an institutional rear-guard battle.This is happening most clearly in Pennsylvania, where the Republican-controlled legislature used the false narrative about mail-in voter fraud to defend provisions prohibiting early processing of mail-in ballots. The only logical purpose of such an intentional administrative hobble is to delay the counting of mail-in ballots, which, because of the propaganda aimed to reduce fear of COVID, was predicted by all to be used more broadly by Democrats.That delay in counting mail-in ballots predictably led to the confusion we see at present and is again supported from the first moments after midnight as Trumps claim that counting the mail-in ballots is an effort to steal the election.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in turn, in his opinion in the Wisconsin case suggested a path for a Republican-stacked federal judiciary to step in and take over from duly elected state executive-branch officials and state courts to enforce the wishes of thoroughly gerrymandered state legislatures. What we are seeing in Pennsylvania is a quintessential campaign that combines disinformation with institutional hardball leveraging narrow points of anti-majoritarian control to maintain that control in the hands of an ever-shrinking minority of white identity voters and religious fundamentalists.

Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, Professor of African and African American Studies and of History, and Director of Afro-Latin American Research Institute

GAZETTE: Were you surprised by the Cuban American vote in Florida?

De La Fuente: It did not come as a surprise. Although Democrats were hoping to reproduce or even expand their traditional lead in Miami-Dade County, it was expected that Cuban Americans, who represent over one-third of the population of the county, would support President Trump by wide margins. Whereas former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the county by almost 30 points in 2016, Vice President Joe Bidens lead was reportedly under 10 percentage points.

It would be tempting to read this result as a consequence of the policy changes that the current administration has pursued concerning Cuba. That does not seem to be the case. At least not directly. As Guillermo Grenier, a sociologist at Florida International University who conducts the most authoritative poll on Cuban American political preferences, explained at a recent seminar [hosted by Harvards David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies], other issues are more important to them. These include mainstream issues such as the economy, health care, immigration, and public safety. Cuba is not at the top of the list. On these issues, many Cuban Americans vote similarly to white working-class Americans.

Although some analysts lump Cuban Americans with other Latino groups, this association says more about the American gaze than about understandings of race, ancestry, and culture among Cubans. Most Cuban Americans self-identify as white and approach electoral issues as white voters. Their ethnic enclave provides a sheltered space for the reproduction of traditional understandings of whiteness, class, and racial difference. Treating Latinos as a voting bloc obscures other regional, cultural, and generational differences that shape how they vote.

Not that Cuba does not matter at all. The current administration has systematically courted Cuban Americans and other Latin American immigrants, especially Venezuelans, by adopting sanctions against the governments of Cuba and Venezuela. If there is something that unites Cubans across political preferences and generations, it is the need for change in the island. At the same time, Republicans have relentlessly and successfully portrayed Democrats as socialists, as soft on communism, and as friendly to Latin American dictators such as Nicols Maduro. The irony of such charges notwithstanding, coming from a president who has been openly sympathetic to authoritarian rulers the world over, they seem to have worked.

Executive Director, Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard Kennedy Schools Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

GAZETTE: What did the election reveal about the integrity of U.S. elections?

Barsallo Lynch: As a bipartisan security project, since 2017 the Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P) has been working with decision-makers in the democratic process to provide actionable recommendations to counter cyber and information threats targeting elections.

Over this past year alone, D3P has engaged close to 900 election officials around the country assessing the evolving threat landscape to elections and working to counter cyber and information threats like the ones weve seen reported throughout this election cycle.

As Americans exercised their fundamental right to vote in this election, we know that malicious actors were seeking to disrupt and interfere in the election. As a project, we also know there are so many Americans, individuals, organizations, agencies, working across sectors, to counter those efforts and maintain the integrity of the election.

The historic turnout shows that, despite hostile efforts to create doubt around our democratic process, Americans confidence in our democracy and our commitment to exercising our right to vote was not undermined by these attacks. There will still be more to learn about these threats and tactics as results come in and after the election is over.

Results are taking longer to report that is OK and expected. This is an unprecedented election.The significant operational challenges associated with holding an election during a pandemic especially an enormous increase in voting by mail affect the usual pace of election night.D3P created theElection Data Setto help media and voters get a sense of these elements that may factor into the results-reporting period.

Maintaining the integrity of the election means making sure every vote is counted. This is understandably taking longer this year. Given such a change from what were used to, the potential for confusion may be high and that confusion may still be exploited to create doubt in the integrity of process.

Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Liz Mineo, Christina Pazzanese, Alvin Powell, Juan Siliezar, and Colleen Walsh contributed to this report.

Responses were gently edited for clarity and length.

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Scholars and analysts reflect on lessons learned - Harvard Gazette

Voting For The First Time In The 2020 Presidential Election – WLRN

Stephanie Sepulveda, 27, Democrat

Courtesy Stephanie Sepulveda

I grew up back and forth between Miami and Venezuela. I moved permanently to Miami when I was 16 years old, when the situation in Venezuela escalated. I recently became a U.S. citizen, and I'm now finally able to participate in elections and give back in a way to the country that has given me so much.

There are so many issues at stake in this election that motivate me to vote: considering the political climate right now, issues of social justice and race relations. As a Latino woman and a woman of color, I think these are essential to the functioning of our country and to saving our democracy. And in general, I don't like extremism.

I come from a country where extremism ruined our democracy or democratic institutions. Populism or a cult of personality whether it be from the right or it be from the left is very dangerous. I'm very aware of it because I've lived it.

Concerned About Political Extremes

Cassidy Cosgrove, 21, Republican

Courtesy Cassidy Cosgrove

"I'm the president of the College Republicans club at Florida Atlantic University. I'm a double major in political science and criminal justice. I've only voted in the midterm before in 2018, which was still exciting to vote for the first time. But, obviously, the presidential election is the highest election of them all. I felt I was actually participating in something, having my voice heard.

Joe Biden is working for the greater Democrat Party, and I think they're leaning more left every year. I see a great emergence with political-correctness culture. It's going too far left with cancel culture. Trump is a fighter against that. We have freedom of speech in this country. Trump is a real advocate for that. He might say the wrong things. He might not use the right terminology, but he's all for the freedom of speech. I don't see that with the Democrat Party.

We've been trying to get everybody involved in not only the Trump campaign, but also local elections in Palm Beach County. You know, real local grassroots campaigning. I see all the work and the time and the logistics that go through even a smaller campaign. I feel much more engaged."

Miles Mariano-Ortilla, 19, Libertarian

Courtesy Miles Mariano-Ortilla

"I turned 18 last year and I believe I registered to vote outside of Office Max. I was getting school supplies because it was toward the beginning of the school year. There was a person who was registering people to vote.

I voted for, I believe, my city council. During that time, COVID-19 cases were a lot higher. So I was a little bit scared to go out and vote in person. So me and my mom, we decided to do mail-in ballots. It felt empowering, actually, because you become a part of the American public life.

A lot of our elders see us as naive. But I think that my generation, our voices should be heard, and that we've been waiting for this election for a long time. 2016 really woke me up. That's why definitely this year is one of the most important elections in our history."

Coming Out As Third Party

Rosa-Maria Britt, 74, independent

Courtesy Rosa-Maria Britt

"I grew up in Italy and I finally became a citizen three years ago because I decided I needed to vote. I decided I needed to give my input. Also, my son told me, It's time for you to become a citizen.

The way COVID-19 was dealt with in Florida or in the United States, I knew they were going to be disorganized. I didn't have much faith in the way our politicians were going to react.

The situation is so difficult. I'm so stressed with the news. I just hope that we can turn a page and start a new chapter.

Lariza Dominguez, 53, Democrat

Courtesy Lariza Dominguez

"I've been a U.S. citizen for 22 years. I had never wanted to vote because I don't follow politics. But I was talking to my daughter and she explained to me the importance of voting this year because our vote could make a difference.

I disagree with Trump's politics, and I think my vote could be important in respect to the pandemic. He failed to listen to the experts and how that led to us having so much loss of life.

It's important to participate in the vote because it's a right we have as citizens. This is a right that we have here that we would have never had in our country [Cuba]. And I think that we should take advantage of this opportunity that we have."

Lariza's son Javier Dominguez helped out with the translation from Spanish to English.

New Direction On Covid Response

WLRN's Katie Lepri and Alyssa Ramos contributed to this report.

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Voting For The First Time In The 2020 Presidential Election - WLRN

Letters to the Editor: All about the election – Mansfield News Journal

USPS promises timely election mail

With a record number of people voting by mail, the 11,600 employees of the Northern Ohio District are actively working together with our postal colleagues throughout Ohio and across the country to ensure the secure, timely delivery of our nations election mail. This is our number one priority, and we are working closely with state, county, and local election officials to meet this goal.

We take our longstanding role in the electoral process very seriously and are confident in our capability and capacity to deliver in this election season. In October and November, the postal service has allocated additional resources including expanded processing procedures, extra transportation, extra delivery and collection trips and overtime to ensure election mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner. Consistent with practices used in past elections, extraordinary measures will be used to accelerate the delivery of ballots including: expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups.

We recommend planning ahead and acting early when choosing to vote through the U.S. Mail. Our post offices and retail locations are open, our mail carriers are at the ready and our collection boxes will be monitored and cleared regularly. As we continue receiving ballots cast by mail, voters in Ohio can be assured that the women and men of the U.S. Postal Service are united and fully focused on our public service mission of secure and timely mail delivery.

Susan Taylor

Acting district manager, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District

These are questions I have asked myself.What is American Exceptionalism?Would the answer be exceptionally stupid?Do I need to go to church?No, I dont, because I can commune better with God sitting on a tree stump than in a pew sitting beside a bunch of hypocrites in church and my soul is at peace.I cannot sit beside those sinners who support the breaking of the 10 Commandments by supporting the lying president and everything else he has done.Does religious freedom mean there is only one true religion? Should those who preach the word of God be wealthier than their average parishioner?Show me one and I will show you an unholy person.

Truth, Justice, and the American way:Truth is now only what we choose to believe.Justice is totally unequal and based only on ones material worth or skin color.As for the American way, it is now get all you can get for as little effort as possible and let someone else pay for it. If the average IQ is 100, doesnt that mean one half of the country is dumber than the other half?You better start asking yourself where you fit in. How do you think China acquired a lock on our prescription medicine?Could it be that wealthier people wanted it manufactured there so they could make more profit?

Every time I go out all I see is stupid, and I am not looking in the mirror.Why did God give you a brain if you refuse to use it?What I am waiting for is when the Democrats return to power the Republicans are sure to say lets work together.I cant wait to say sure!

James M. Wise, Bellville

A vote for Biden is a vote for communism in America.If elected president, he will only be a figurehead, the out-front voice of a party run by far left socialists and Marxist revolutionaries.

History shows that such socialism always devolves into communism.For communism to work, the populace has to be made subservient to government control.Thus, the middle class has to be eliminated, freedoms such as First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion have to be eradicated, any conservative opposing viewpoints have to be censored and silenced, and the populace has to be under constant surveillance by the ruling authorities.As a result, communism has been responsible for over 100 million deaths of law-abiding citizens in the 20th century alone.Why would anybody think it would be any different in America?

Those who have the misconceived idea that they will receive free health care, free education, free this or that, will soon learn that nothing is free.You will pay for it through heavier and heavier taxation that puts people on a near-poverty level dependent on and enslaved to the elites in government.Either we learn the lessons of history (e.g. Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.) or we are doomed to repeat them.

Additionally, the Democratic platform is a demon-inspired, anti-God platform of death, immoralityand destruction.Carried out it would result in Americas demise.

Like many Americans, I dont care much for Donald Trumps personality nor many of his tweets.However, to vote for Biden because of a dislike of Trumps personality would be a grave mistake.It is policy, not personality, that will determine Americas direction.And it is widespread repentance first, along with Republican policy and adherence to the Constitution founded on Judeo-Christian moral principles, that will better help lead America in the right direction.

Richard Smith, Mansfield

I have tried to stay apolitical in my previous letters, but I have read one too many bashing Joe Biden and the Democrats.

The United States at one time was the nation every other one envied; people longed to come here for freedom, equality, and education.In the past fouryears some immigrants who arrived were separated from their children who were put in cages.Now, the parents of these children cannot be located.I cannot imagine being separated from my child, possibly forever.

Everyone I talk with supports President Trump because of his pro-life stand; there are other issues!He also is doing his best to eliminate the Affordable Care act in the middle of a pandemic!Pre-existing conditions, under the president is also on his hit list.

It is unconscionable that POTUS continues to lie to Americans about the pandemic.As I recall, it was going to be gone by Easter, then summer and now the cure and vaccine are right around the corner.In the meantime, more than 220,000 have died; some children, some healthy adults and, yes, senior citizens who are more vulnerable.Does that mean they are dispensable?

Why does the president refuse to speak against white supremacists?One group trained to kidnap and execute Michigans governor and Mr. Trump continues to taunt her.He also banned diversity training, because in his opinion systemic racism does not exist.

What about his efforts to derail voting?Drop boxes were removed in Texas and cuts made in the postal service because the postmaster is a generous POTUS donor.

Unfortunately, I am limited to 300 words here, which are not nearly enough to address the many divisions President Trump has created.If you have not already voted, please consider what a great nation this once was and vote Democratic to restore it.

Ruth White, Mansfield

I usually vote Republican, but I am tired of Trump's nonsense and lies. He said the virus would go away, but now it is even worse. He said factory jobs would come back here, but I don't see any. I will give Biden a chance.

I may support Rep. Troy Balderson again to keep a check on a Biden presidency, but I cannot say his tenure has been impressive. I am willing to look into Alaina Shearer more.

Local Republicans are just as bad as the ones in D.C. and the corruption in the Ohio legislature is disgusting. Because of this, I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Marilyn John. She took Householder's corrupt money and has not been willing to face the voters and be accountable.

John Galvano, Mansfield

The presidential election campaign has revealed a split between spiritual Catholics and cultural Catholics. Spiritual Catholics ascribe to the dogma of the church and attempt to follow it as best they can. Cultural Catholics on the other hand pick and choose which church doctrine they will ascribe to. Frequently they allow politics to dictate their mindset.Abortion is a prime example. Spiritual Catholics believe life begins at conception while some cultural Catholics support Planned Parenthood and abortion.

The irony of all of this is that spiritual Catholics are now more aligned to conservative non-Catholic Christians than to their liberal cultural Catholic counterparts. The recent Supreme Court vacancy hearings illustrate this. Not one Democratic Catholic senator stood up to defend the teaching of the church. To go one step further, neither did the Democratic Catholic candidate for president.

I find it difficult to understand how one lives this facade. If you say you are an NFL football player, you better play the game. If you claim to be Catholic, you better believe the dogma. Catholics need to stand up for their church.

Paul Conry, Mansfield

You may know me Tim Grady I ran for state rep twice, last time as a Libertarian. Not ringing any bells? Fair enough. Anyway, my brother is Sam Grady and this year hes on your ballot for state representative. You probably know him;hes surprisingly good at generating media attention. Hes drawn a lot of flack for his lack of political correctness, and its likely deserved.

But the thing is, his lack of political correctness is the ONLY thing hes faulted for. Truthfully, hes a good candidate;hes the better choice in this election. He has pragmatic, thought-out policies that can draw bipartisan support. His opponent has no policies. He has no political ambitions; hes not a career politician like his opponent. In fact he practically revels in upsetting the status quo. Hes driven the state and local party establishment of BOTH the Republicans and Democrats to absolute madness. An accomplishment few can claim and not half bad for a political newcomer. But most importantly, he doesnt take tens of thousands of dollars from super PACs and corrupt legislators. If elected, hed be beholden to no one but the voters.

If you vote for Samyou can vote against corruption, you can vote against political partiesand you get someone who will, without question, zealously defend your personal liberties and call out the hypocrisy and corruption running rampant in our state government. Is Sam Grady the perfect candidate? No, because hes very rude on Facebook. But hell fight for you on the House floor because he enjoys it. And in two years its redistricting time and maybe we can choose someone else, maybe me (100% Ill run against him if no one else will), maybe Nathan Martin. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Tim Grady, Mansfield

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Letters to the Editor: All about the election - Mansfield News Journal

Win or lose, Trumpism is here to stay – Ynetnews

Despite what many may believe, Donald Trump's presidency is not a mere fluke in Americas political history.

He may be detestable, an unfit leader and a failed president, but for many disheartened Americans, Trump was the epitome of authenticity, who summarized the feelings of those protesting against establishment.

Trump supporters in Florida

(Photo: AFP)

Trump may not even realize it, but he was both a president and a rebel simultaneously.

Trump's first presidential campaign and his conduct during his time in the White House formed an entire ideology, now known as Trumpism.

The ideology rebels against what is perceived to be the American political establishment, which according to them has been overrun by liberal purists, as well as against the U.S. media, which is excessively influenced by ratings and political preferences of its senior executives.

The main reason Trumps rebellion gained such momentum - mainly with white voters from mid-to-low socio-economic background - is that his supporters were and still are frustrated with the way the U.S. democracy functions.

U.S. President Donald Trump

(Photo: Reuters)

His voters feel that the glorious American democracy has left them behind, and are furious with the self-serving political system full of politicians who generously distribute public funds to the economic, religious and ethnic interest groups, who support them and their re-election efforts.

Additionally, many Americans have grown ever more frustrated with the fanatical enforcement of political correctness in speech and other forms of expression.

The enforcement of PC culture is done mainly by the mainstream media and social networks' users, who operate an elaborate online shaming mechanism that works in parallel and alongside the legal system.

While the initial intentions of the so-called PC culture were good, meant to shelter societys weakest populations from being verbally abused, it has eventually transformed into a monstrous concept. This culture now does little but prevent dialogue and open exchanges of opinions between people in a public sphere, making it impossible to talk about real issues and reach an effective solution that will truly serve the public's needs.

Far-right group Proud Boys during Trump rally

(Photo: AP)

Another reason for Trump's popularity with certain sectors of society is the hostility of America's conservatives toward the established media, which is influenced by ratings, arrogance and political leanings, rather than the need to provide the public with reliable information, conveyed in the right context.

However, Trumps constant claims that the media is spreading fake news are blatant lies. Most American media outlets take extra care to find out the truth and present real facts.

Another absurdity is that the media's obsession with ratings is what pushes them to cover Trump, thus giving him a ludicrous amount of exposure, allowing him to set the political national political agenda over other important issues that are pushed to the back of public discourse and therefore do not receive proper coverage.

Supporters of the conspiracy group QAnon - which claims that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is plotting against US President Donald Trump - attending a Trump rally

(Photo: Reuters)

Trumps success lies in the fact that he manages to give an outlet to many Americans, who are justifiable frustrated. His vague promise to change the political system from within is what landed him his first term in the White House.

In his four years in office, however, he did no such thing. All he did was lie and replace senior officials with others, who he believed would better serve his needs, all while constantly inciting the flames of anger among his supporters through incitement and control over the public agenda.

And so, nothing has changed, and even if Trump fails to secure a second term, Trumpism is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Supporters of Democratic candidate Joe Biden protesting in front of President Trump's supporters in front of the White House

(Photo: AFP)

The American public, polarized and divided by hatred like never before, will stay as such. Some will even continue to spread fake news and conspiracy theories, making them the perfect prey for Russian and Iranian agents operating in the cyberspace.

Trumpism as an ideology, is not confined only to U.S. borders. It is wherever democracy has stopped functioning properly, and has, therefore, adopted by other authoritarian leaders who regularly exploit the shortcomings of the democratic system in their respective countries, in order to enforce their will.

This is how they gather strength and boundless influence, all while presenting themselves as victims. "The victimized tyrant," is the essence of Trumpism, with which we might have to live until disaster strikes, or society will find a way to uproot it.

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Win or lose, Trumpism is here to stay - Ynetnews

Alaska’s lone congressman has earned another term – Anchorage Daily News

Endorsements are made by the editorial board and reflect the opinion of the owners. The newsroom operates independently of the editorial board and is not involved in the endorsement process.

At this point, the election for Alaskas lone U.S. House seat feels a little like Groundhog Day: The cantankerous incumbent Rep. Don Young faces off against a fresh-faced challenger who promises better results for our state, only to fall short on Election Day, having failed to convince Alaskans that things would be better with a different hand on the tiller. Every two years since the early 1970s, Alaskans have opted for the devil they know rather than the devil they dont.

Calling Rep. Young the devil we know is admittedly unkind, but its true that the incumbent has a well-publicized tendency toward gaffes one relatively recent example: his dismissing of COVID-19 as the beer virus at the beginning of the ongoing pandemic outbursts and occasionally uncivil behavior. However, many find it refreshing that he speaks his mind, unconstrained by political correctness.

The reality is, Rep. Young isnt running to be our states chief medical officer, anger management counselor or health teacher. Hes running to continue representing Alaskas interests in Washington, D.C., where his experience, leadership and relationships convey substantial benefits.

Youngs opponent, Alyse Galvin, is making her second run at defeating him after a vigorous but unsuccessful effort in 2018. As a co-founder of the public education advocacy group Great Alaska Schools, Galvin has a passion for education and other social policy, and has pointed to the fact that she would be caucusing with the Democrats in Congress, who are likely to retain their majority in the House.

Galvin is right that being in the majority would ensure her a seat at the table when decisions are being made. But when it comes to how things work in Congress, Young has more valuable assets in his longevity and the relationships hes built over nearly 50 years in office. He has a mammoth record of advancing Alaskas interests, particularly with regard to resource development and infrastructure. Galvins energy is undeniable, but it strains credibility to think she would be able to reverse House Democratic caucus leaderships position on signature priorities such as oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges 1002 Area, the construction of the King Cove Road or any of a number of similar Alaska resource and access issues. Within the House Majority, she would be a minority of one.

Given his age which hes happy to acknowledge, while at the same time boasting that hed bet on himself against someone 20 years younger Young is still energetic and sharp, and his capacity to do the work on Capitol Hill is largely undiminished. Critics point to his history of truancy from House votes, an unfair attack on an Alaska congressman who must balance spending time home in Alaska with his time in the Beltway. And hes been far more present in his most recent term, missing about 4% of all floor votes. Thats far from the best attendance record, but its better than at least one member of the Squad of freshman Democratic legislators making waves in the House, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. And if Rep. Omars absences havent hurt her clout, its hard to argue Rep. Youngs have.

Rep. Young admits he wont be in office forever, although his longevity could lead some to question that. He says hell happily turn over the reins when he feels he can no longer do the job well. That could be as soon as one term away, or it could be less. Alaskans will also be able to gauge whether they feel hes still up to the task. Don Young has clearly earned the privilege of another term. Alaskans shouldnt hesitate to lend him their support.

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Alaska's lone congressman has earned another term - Anchorage Daily News

Trump started a war against safe spaces, but then pledged to ‘Make America Safe Again’ – Open Democracy

At the end of George W. Bushs second term in 2009, few Americans were denying that the Iraq War had become a fiasco and that the federal government had failed both in its response to Hurricane Katrina and the financial crash. Even then, though, much of the public avoided facing the political and economic causes of those failures and grasped instead at vague, easy hopes that then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offered, but that his presidency proved unwilling or unable to fulfill.

The ongoing flight from reality only accelerated with Donald Trumps 2016 campaign, when millions of voters sought scapegoats to blame for rising dangers and craved simplistic directions to safety and salvation. Much of that acceleration can be blamed on Rupert Murdochs TV channel, Fox News, and his newspapers, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well other right-wing media, sundry impresarios and invaders of social media.

But democracy can be undone by a much older danger, inherent in human nature: millions of peoples incapacity or disinclination to pit reason against fantasy in the conduct of their own lives and public affairs. That disturbing tendency has been reinforced by Trump, as much as by destructive media, since well before 2016, intensifying public distempers that won't abate even if Joe Biden wins.

Unprecedented though this breakdown of public reason and trust may seem, American history itself offers ample reasons why matters have come to this. Whenever the republics civil society has been under great stress, defenders of its traditional values, joined by opportunistic free riders like Trump, who are driven only by power-lust and greed, have ginned up public paroxysms of alarm and rage at selected internal enemies whom theyve blamed for the crises.

In the 1690s, the enemy was witches, hysterical women and girls said to have been taken by Satan. In 1619 and in ever since, it has been African Americans and Native Americans, said to be inferior and therefore all the more dangerous to their oppressors. In the 1840s, it was Catholic immigrants, said by a presidential candidate to be besotted with rum, Romanism, and rebellion. In the 1920s, it was anarchists, Reds, and pushy Hebrews. In the 1950s, it was Communist spies for Stalin, the Satan of that time. In the 1960s, it was hippies, inner-city rioters, and opponents of the Vietnam War. Since 9/11, it has been American Muslims.

Trump drew much of his inspiration from another such paroxysm in 2015, when a yet another scapegoat was conjured up by another cohort of self-avowed civic champions, propagandists, opportunists, and keyboard-pounding alarmists (including more than a few sensation-hungry journalists). Civil society, they warned the public, was endangered by fragile, college-student snowflakes and petulant, censorious cry-bullies, obsessing, with their coddling, over-controlling parents, counsellors, and deans, about safety. According to this account, their perverse culture of safetyism censures all who don't follow its rules.

This was all well before the real threat to safety posed by COVID, which certainly does require that we follow strict rules. Yet public response to safety-obsessed college snowflakes was almost as intense as it had been in response to Puritan alarms about witches. A 7300-word article in Atlantic magazine, The Coddling of the American Mind, garnered over half a million Facebook shares with its claim that a new movement on American campuses was demanding protection from even stray phrases uttered in conversation or offending sentences in textbooks that might frighten discomfit students and their mentors.

Introducing readers to preoccupations with trigger warnings, microaggressions, and safe spaces, the authors Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt warned that safetyism and vindictive protectiveness, driven by generally left-leaning campus sensibilities, was spawning pathological thinking, such as catastrophizing, a malignant pessimism that turns commonplace negative events into nightmarish monsters.

Keyboard-pounding culture warriors, many of them older white men, including some of my own college classmates, responded, often anonymously but with alacrity, raging from internet safe spaces at videos of Black students demanding apologies for racism and sexism. Some students demands were histrionic and destructive of civility itself, but residential undergraduate college campuses, at least before COVID, have been civil societies on training wheels, where young adults sometimes experiment in a politics of self-discovery through moral posturing. Some act like hypersensitive barometers or canaries in a coal mine, registering tremors of a much larger civic implosion that they cant help but carry but certainly havent caused.

The same can't be said of their angry elders, presumably more mature but nostalgic for visions of their own youth (which they might wince to recall accurately). They exhibit a distinctive attitudinal structure that the political theorist Peter F. Gordon, in The Authoritarian Personality Revisited, reminds us has a tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values. In 2015, conservative provocateurs, editors, and reporters obliged these keyboard authoritarians by prowling campuses, notebooks and video-cams at the ready, to catch the cry-bullies in action.

Necessary though it is to challenge wayward students' and mentors' affronts to free inquiry and expression, it's just as important to understand what's driving them. But well-funded orchestrators of a grand-inquisitorial take-downs of leftish social justice warriors and "safetyism" developed a strategy that was embraced by then presidential candidate Trump. Knowing a successful marketing gambit when he saw one, he promised his followers safety from "political correctness" in colleges and, soon enough, from urban anarchists, feral invaders of suburbs, and other nightmarish monsters.

Trump being Trump, he couldn't stop accusing his conjured-up adversaries of sins that he himself and his Republicans are guilty of: fear-mongering and craving the "safety" he supposedly defies; fomenting violence and the swamp of corruption that submerges his own family and supporters. In this year's campaign, Make America Great Again became Make America Safe Again, outdoing the obsessions about safety that the anti-"coddling" crusade had ascribed to college scapegoats.

In Joe Bidens America, you and your family will never be safe, Trump told a Tampa audience in July. In a perfect instance of catastrophizing, he warned that under Biden, rioters and criminals will be totally protected, law-abiding citizens will be totally disarmed, and American families will be at the mercy of the violent left-wing mob that youve been watching on television.

Adopting a more-coddling tone, Trump assured senior citizens

in Fort Myers, Florida in August that our groundbreaking therapies have significantly... improved our outcomes for elderly patients, but Ill not relent until all American seniors are safe. Youre going to be safe 100 percent safe. Losing his train of thought in the midst of that talk, he added, Suburban women want security, they want safety, they want law and order. They want their homes to be protected. You know why they like me? Because Im saving their homes.

In a later tweet, he added, revealingly, They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.

The biggest irony in Trumps "safety" gambit is that it doesn't really copy the campus left as much as it picks up a strong current in conservative thought that generated campus "safetyism" in the first place. In 1972, conservative activists David and Holly Franke wrote a book identifying towns including Holly's hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts that they deemed safe from the social upheavals and maladies of that time. Catastrophizing that half of Americans felt afraid to walk the streets of their own communities at night and that 47% predicted "a real breakdown in this country, the Frankes commended only one rational route possible for the law-abiding citizen: escape.

Their book Safe Places sold well through several iterations (Safe Places West and Safe Places for the 80s). But to revisit the book's fear-driven, fear-inducing assessments of American society now is to uncover an instructive irony. The conservative turn from demanding safety for suburbs that, in 1972, weren't truly threatened by inner-city invaders, to condemning the more-recent demands for safe places by students and mentors, many of whom were raised in precisely the safe places defended so ardently by the Frankes.

A second irony lies in David Frankes own history, since his student days in the 1950s, of mobilising campus conservatives against leftist radicals. In 1970, two years before publishing Safe Spaces, he co-founded the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to train college students to counter liberal betrayals of our nation's founding principles limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, market economy... ideas that are rarely taught in your classroom.

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Trump started a war against safe spaces, but then pledged to 'Make America Safe Again' - Open Democracy

Op-ed: Don’t be friends with radical members of the other party – The Huntington News

With the election ever so relevant, the gap between Democrats and Republicans couldnt be wider. Nearly every issue is hotly debated, and the chasm between ideologies is larger than at almost any other point in history. Especially with the rise of social media, many people remain in partisan echo chambers, firmly entrenched in their own point of view.

But it hasnt always been this way. Even as recently as 2008, Obama and McCain engaged in civil discourse, with McCain even at one point defending Obama as a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and thats what the campaigns all about. Past politicians, and by extension the people they represented, treated one another with respect, decency and courtesy.

That isnt the case today. As the political climate becomes more polarized, people are often charged with a difficult decision: Should someone stop being friends with a person on the other side of the aisle? Historically, that answer has been no. However, with the rise of extremism and radicalism, the shifting of social circles due to politics may now be as justified as it ever will be.

Nowadays, news channels and social media circles have created echo chambers of extreme political thought, which has spread it dramatically. Even in a recent Congressional hearing on Section 230 involving several technology companies, senators asked Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg what his company was doing to limit their involvement in the increase of radicalization, with Facebook being used as a communication platform for extremists planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or engage in the Kenosha shootings.

In politics today, the left is moving farther toward cancel culture and extreme political correctness, while the right is moving farther toward a Christian, conservative, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality.

Both ends of the political spectrum have evidently demonstrated ethically unsound behavior. Take, for example, the city of Portland, Oregon where violent riots following George Floyds death cost approximately $23 million in damages and loss of business. Or look at the presidents disparaging remarks to Congress members of color, in which he said that some of them, including American-born Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, should go back to their crime-infested countries.

This election is no longer about what this country needs from its leader. Instead, its about which side has done a better job infiltrating the minds of American voters through their phones and their television sets. We, as a nation, have been locked in to a certain brand of politics, where opposing ideas are ridiculed or shunned. Im not advocating for cutting reasonable or courteous people from your circle because of their political affiliation. But we can not condone this kind of radicalization in our politics to the point of violence or bigotry. We cannot condone looting and pillaging of our cities, nor active discrimination against our immigrant population.

So if you know someone who is in the process of becoming politically radicalized, no matter if its towards the left or the right, do yourself a favor and cut them out of your life.

Arjun Ramachandrula is a first-year computer science and business administration combined major. He can be reached at [emailprotected].

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Op-ed: Don't be friends with radical members of the other party - The Huntington News

Friedman: When my president sang ‘Amazing Grace’ – The Register-Guard

Thomas Friedman| The New York Times

This is my last regular column before Election Day, so what is there left to say? Instead of giving you an answer, let me leave you with a question, which I think is the question. What would you do if your kid came home from school and said:

Mom, Dad, my teacher said President Obama ordered the killing of the U.S. Special Forces team that supposedly killed Osama bin Laden. My teacher said bin Laden is actually still alive, that the guy the Navy SEALs killed was a body double. He also claimed that Obamas aides got Iran to send bin Laden to Pakistan so Obama could have a trophy kill. Whats a trophy kill? My teacher said he had heard all of this somewhere on the internet, and he just thought hed pass it along to our class. Mom, Dad, is this true?

I know how Id respond. Id immediately call the school principal and ask how someone peddling such vile and fraudulent conspiracy stuff could be teaching in any classroom in America. Who wouldnt? It violates the most basic judgment and norms of decency that we expect of anyone teaching in public school or serving in public office.

And that is really the question Donald Trumps voters cant ignore: Why would you be ready to fire your kids teacher for passing along such disgusting nonsense but be willing to rehire the nations teacher in chief our president, the man with the most-read blackboard in the world after he peddled exactly these crazy conspiracy theories to some 87 million people on Twitter the other day? Is there anything more warped?

On Oct. 13, Trump retweeted a post from an account linked to QAnon, a collective of online conspiracists, which has since been suspended, CNN reported. The tweet alleged Biden and Obama may have had SEAL Team 6 killed, that Osama bin Laden was still alive, and that the man killed in the Obama-directed raid led by SEAL Team 6 was actually a body double. Later that night, Trump retweeted a post claiming top Obama administration officials colluded to bring bin Laden from Iran to Pakistan for Obamas trophy kill.

The CNN story continued: Trumps initial retweet was rebuked by one of the Navy SEAL members of the raid, who is very much still alive. Very brave men said goodby (sic) to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden, Robert J. ONeill tweeted following Trumps retweet. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double.

ONeill, who has previously expressed support for Trump, told CNNs Chris Cuomo that the promotion of these conspiracy theories for the purpose of politics is really trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes I have ever personally worked with.

When NBC News Savannah Guthrie asked Trump why he would spread such a lie, Trump shrugged: That was a retweet; Ill put it out there. People can decide for themselves.

In other words, Trump sees as part of his job as president with the worlds best global intelligence network at his disposal not to discredit malicious conspiracy theories, so Americans can better navigate a confusing world, but rather to spread this bile, without even asking the CIA or the FBI if its true. Let people sort it out for themselves, he says as if their resources match his.

I understand that many Americans stand by Trump because of his policies on immigration, taxes, political correctness or selection of judges, or because they feel he gives voice to their grievances against elites who may look down on them. None of that resonates with me, but those are legitimate positions shared by some 40% of the country.

But our president is not just a policy robot. Hes also a role model, whether he or we like it or not. So, for all of you who plan to cast your ballot for Trump, I beg you to ask yourselves: How can you tolerate behaviors in a president that you would never tolerate in your kids seventh-grade teacher or babysitter?

Trump has so redefined decency down that we have forgotten what is normal, let alone optimal, in an American president. We have forgotten what it is like to have a truth-teller, a healer, in the White House, someone who starts his day with at least the inclination to unite the country and to project America at its best for the world not someone who has lived every day in office aspiring to be president only of his base, while offering anyone at home or abroad looking to the United States for inspiration just one message: Show me the money.

As I was reflecting on all this last weekend, my friend Elena Park, an executive producer for Stanford Live, sent me a YouTube video an incredible performance the other day by singer Meklit and the Kronos Quartet of The President Sang Amazing Grace.

The song was written by Zoe Mulford about the 2015 murders of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist. It was debuted by Mulford in 2017, telling in song how a different president, Barack Obama, came down to that church for a memorial service and during his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney sang Amazing Grace, one of the most moving and healing moments of his presidency.

As Meklit sang:

We argued where to lay the blame

On one mans hate or our nations shame

Some sickness of the mind or soul

And how those wounds might be made whole

But no words could say what must be said

For all the living and the dead

So on that day and in that place

The President sang Amazing Grace

My President sang Amazing Grace

So, theres your choice in a nutshell, folks. You can vote for a president who retweets sick conspiracy theories claiming that his predecessor murdered U.S. Navy SEALs. Or you can vote for Joe Biden, a man who, like Obama, will strive each day to make our wounds whole, and do it, Im sure, with dignity and grace.

Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times.

Originally posted here:

Friedman: When my president sang 'Amazing Grace' - The Register-Guard

No ‘bang for buck’: Budget is big on political correctness, weak on job creation – Sydney Morning Herald

First, give tax breaks and incentives to businesses, in the hope that this will induce them to expand their operations, spending more on capital equipment and new employees.

Second, give tax cuts (or maybe one-off cash grants) to individual taxpayers or welfare recipients, in the hope that they will spend most of the money and thereby generate economic activity and jobs.

Those two categories involve the government making "transfer payments" from itself to households or firms. The third category is the government spending money directly by paying someone to build a house or an expressway or to work for the government and perform some service.

As a rule, economists expect direct spending to yield a greater stimulus (and thus have a higher "multiplier" effect) than transfer payments. Thats because all the governments spending adds to demand for goods and services in the "first round", whereas some of the money you transfer to a firm or individual may be saved rather than spent, even in the first round.

Economists consider saving a "leakage" from the various rounds of the "circular flow of income" round and round the economy. Other leakages occur if the money is spent on imports rather than locally made goods and services.

Still on direct spending, if your primary goal is not so much to add to the production of goods and services (real gross domestic product) as to increase employment, youd be better off directing your government spending to a labour-intensive purpose (employing an extra uni tutor or aged-care nurse, for instance), rather than a capital-intensive purpose, such as a new expressway.

Now lets look at how the budgets main measures fit these three categories. Its temporary measure to allow firms an immediate write-off of the cost of new equipment (costing the revenue $26.7 billion over four years), its temporary measure allowing firms to carry back current losses for tax purposes ($4.9 billion), its research and development tax incentive ($2 billion) and its temporary JobMaker "hiring credit" - wage subsidy ($4 billion) add up to total revenue forgone under the first category of tax breaks to businesses of almost $38 billion.

This is far bigger than the money going to individual taxpayers and welfare recipients in the second category: personal tax cuts ($17.8 billion over four years) and "economic support payments" to pensioners ($2.5 billion), a total of just over $20 billion.

Under the third category, direct government spending on goods and services, the main measures are various infrastructure programs mostly via grants to state governments - worth more than $10 billion over four years.

So you see how much the budgets fiscal stimulus measures have been affected by the governments "core values". No less than $38 billion goes as tax breaks to business, three-quarters of the $20 billion in transfers to individuals comes as tax cuts, leaving about $10 billion in direct spending going to the least labour-intensive purpose transport infrastructure.

Liberal "core values" over "bang for buck": Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg before the budget announcement.

Now, according to the budget papers or according to the budget "glossies" fudged up by ministerial staffers with lots of colour photos of good-looking punters the government and its minions have estimated the number of jobs the top programs are expected to create.

The immediate asset write-off and loss carry-back for businesses is expected to create about 50,000 jobs. Is that a lot? Well, remembering we have a labour force of 13.5 million, it doesnt seem much. And dividing the 50,000 into the budgetary cost of $31.6 billion gives a cost of $632,000 per job.

Thats infinitely more than any of those extra workers are likely to be paid, of course, and absolutely pathetic bang per buck. Giving money to business in the hope it will do wonders for "jobs and growth" is a classic example of "trickle-down economics". Clearly, a lot of the money doesnt.

But, when you think about it, its not so surprising that so much money produces so few extra jobs. Why not? Because almost all the capital equipment Australian firms buy is imported. And because firms get the concession even if they dont buy any more equipment than they would have done.

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Next, the budget documents imply that the personal tax cuts worth $17.8 billion will create a further 50,000 jobs. That works out at $356,000 per job still terrible bang per buck. Why so high? Too much of the tax cut is likely to be saved.

Finally, the budget documents tell us the $4 billion cost of the JobMaker hiring credit will yield "around 450,000 positions for young Australians". Thats a much better but still high - $8900 per "position" which I take to mean that a lot of the jobs wont be lasting or full time.

So, what measures would have yielded better job-creation value? The ones rejected as politically incorrect: big spending on social housing, a permanent increase in the JobSeeker unemployment benefit or even just employing more childcare workers.

Ross Gittins is the Heralds economics editor.

Ross Gittins is the Economics Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

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No 'bang for buck': Budget is big on political correctness, weak on job creation - Sydney Morning Herald

Opinion: How far must we go to achieve political correctness in literature? The Review – University of Delaware Review

Rebecca Calderon/THE REVIEW Authors ability to write from other perspectives shows range, even if their work may be criticized by some for lacking political correctness.

In the age of social media, where ideas can be communicated quicker than ever, so can backlash. Anyone who writes anything is bound to be extolled or criticized for their ideas. It is impossible for literary authors to create content that everyone will enjoy and agree with, and the discussions that come with controversy are valuable and can open minds to other viewpoints. From the classic To Kill a Mockingbird to the more contemporary Harry Potter series, literature evokes different feelings for readers.

Authors write content for a variety of reasons, and it is useless for them to aim for complete political correctness. Some authors who have written about characters in situations beyond that of their personal experience have attempted to reach political correctness by employing a sensitivity reader: Someone who proofreads their work to ensure that the content remains inoffensive in dealing with issues such as race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality, illness and disability.

Author Liane Moriarty employed the use of such sensitivity readers for her novel American Heart, set in a dystopian America where a Muslim girl helps an Iranian immigrant escape to Canada. Writing outside of her personal experience, she utilized the readers to verify that she had written an accurate and respectful portrayal of the Islamic faith. However, upon the release of the book, Moriarty still received backlash by Muslims who were offended by her writing. Should Moriarty, who already expected her novel to be polarizing, not have bothered enlisting the help of sensitivity researchers in the first place?

Spending $250 per manuscript in order to get a couple of other peoples approval cannot accurately ensure infallible cultural portrayals. The intention of not wanting to offend someones culture is understandable, but how many people need to read a work until it becomes perfectly politically correct? It seems unlikely for Moriarty that hiring sensitivity readers dramatically impacted her reader feedback for the better. After all, she is writing about a topic outside of her experience, and no matter how many sensitivity readers review her work, there is always room for error and misunderstanding amongst her audience.

Controversy will always exist among people, so what is the merit for trying to avoid confrontation in literature? While this may seem like an insensitive and devil-may-care approach for some writers, it is important to remember that writing is not intended to please everyone. An authors positive and thoughtful intentions seem to be of no use once criticisms roll out.

Literature that is debated for political correctness gets people thinking and opens up for discussions that encourage the consideration of a multitude of perspectives. Writers need to have thick skin and an understanding of the criticism that comes with publishing. Literary works should be published with an intention to foster healthy debate, not to please everyone with its political correctness.

Catherine Hogan is a staff reporter for the Review. Her opinions are her own and do not represent the majority opinion of the Reviews editorial staff. She may be reached at cmhogan@udel.edu

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Opinion: How far must we go to achieve political correctness in literature? The Review - University of Delaware Review

Letter: The danger of the left – Concord Monitor

Published: 10/15/2020 7:03:28 PM

Ron Litalien lectures us on what kind of country we are and should be using absurd rhetoric. If the Biden/Harris ticket wins, the long-term consequences using Litaliens words will be devastating.

Do you enjoy the cancel culture, political correctness, condoned riots and looting, being shamed, silenced, demonized and dismissed if you dont believe as Democrats and progressives do?

Do you support Democrats closing the country down again, further destroying our economy with governors and mayors enjoying their emergency and new found power a little too much? Three prominent governors sent COVID-19 patients to nursing homes infecting and killing thousands. Thats not leadership, that is incompetence.

Litalien worries about fascism. I worry about totalitarianism and more legislation that we have to pass the bill so people can see whats in it by the bully party of Pelosi.

Do you trust China to manufacture our pharmaceuticals and do you think that they are blameless for the spread COVID-19? Democrats have defended China through COVID-19.

Eight long years of economic hardship under Obama/Biden policies stifled our economy, emboldened our enemies, divided and weakened our country. Remember the green jobs that Obama never created and the largess he showered on bundlers in the name of stimulus squandered by now failed green companies.

Democrats and progressives focused on overturning an election for four years, accomplishing little beyond further dividing the country and spewing the kind of vitriol and hatred that we see in letter after letter by intellectually dishonest partisans in the Monitor daily.

Bill Bunker

Barnstead

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Letter: The danger of the left - Concord Monitor

Will the Cultural Revolution be Canceled? – newgeography.com

Its an article of faith among many conservatives, and some liberals, that were being swept by a Maoist cultural revolution destined to transform American society into a woke collective. Yet before surrendering basics like equality of opportunity, social order, and free speech to leftist authoritarians, we should consider whether theyre the ones who will wind up getting canceled.

Most Americans dont favor defunding police or instituting race quotas; they are wary of the costs connected with the Green New Deal and of allowing Washington to control local zoning. Many are already voting with their feet, fleeing places that promote these ideas and seeking out areas aligned with more recognizable American values. Over the past 20 years, virtually all the most progressive large statesNew York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Californiahave suffered massive outmigration, while red or purplish states like Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, or Arizona welcome more and more Americans to resettle there. On the metropolitan level, even before Covid-19 accelerated the trend, a steady, largely unacknowledged, movement from the deep-blue core to the less progressive suburbs or exurbs has been underway.

Political correctnessthe secular religion of elite liberal societyturns out to be enormously unpopular, something President Trump has exploited politically. Some 80 percent of Americans, notes one recent survey, including most millennials and minorities, see political correctness as a problem, not a solution for the future. Progressive social activists, a survey by the liberal research organization More in Common found, account for barely 8 percent of the adult population, less than a third of the number who identify as traditional conservatives.

The fact that most AmericansDemocrat and Republicanfall between these two categories suggests that social attitudes may be far less polarized, and less susceptible to political correctness, than has been widely assumed. As seen in the reaction to the George Floyd case, most Americans generally back the police but also embrace the notion of police reform; they are increasingly hostile, however, to the wave of violence that has accompanied some of the protests. Rather than support growing attempts to limit free speech, almost four in five Americans, according to Pew, support protecting it. These attitudes extend well beyond the base of Trumpian conservatives to include most Americans, regardless of ethnic background.

The media epitomize the gap between the public and the nations dominant institutions. Subjectivity, notes a recent Rand study, has replaced the world of shared facts with approaches that lead to truth decay. Reporters once believed that their mission was to inform the public, but now many journalism schools, including Columbia, embrace progressive groupthink, openly advancing a leftist social-justice agenda in which reporters are advocates. Even Teen Vogue has taken a neo-Marxist tack. Moral clarity replaces objectivity. Free speech is somehow linked to white privilege.

These partisan attitudes have dramatically eroded trust in media, according to a new Knight Foundation study. Public trust in most large media has declined steadily over the past four years, with the biggest drops among Republicans; the New York Times, the publisher of the 1619 Project takedown of American history, is trusted by less than half of the public, compared with almost 60 percent in 2016. Gallup reports that, since the pandemic, the news media has suffered the lowest ratings of any major institution, performing even worse than Congress or President Trump.

Certainly, the shift leftward has not helped the progressive-dominated newspaper business. Between 2001 and 2017, the publishing industry (books, newspapers, magazines) lost 290,000 jobs, a decline of 40 percent. Endless partisan sniping and countless crises have boosted CNN, but the network lags well behind right-wing Fox. NPR has seen its ratings drop as many listeners gravitate to less predictable, livelier voices like Joe Rogan.

The new media also suffer from a credibility crisis. Controllers like those at Facebook, Google, Apple, and Twitter are increasingly determined to curate quality content on their sites, or even eliminate views they find objectionable, which tend to be conservative, according to employees. The idea that managers of huge social-media platforms aim to control content is more than conservative paranoia. Over 70 percent of Americans, according to a recent Pew study, believe that such platformsas demonstrated in the case of Reddit, Facebook, and Googlecensor political views. In California, the center of Big Tech, people express more trust in the marijuana industry than they do in social media, according to a 2019 survey.

Read the rest of this piece at City Journal.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo credit: City of St Pete via Flickr under CC 2.0 License.

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Will the Cultural Revolution be Canceled? - newgeography.com


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